“Oven-roasted butternut squash and apple pureed into a velvety smooth soup finished with a touch of fresh sage.”
Soup just happens to be one of my favorite foods. I love how it can be so incredibly versatile. There are light broth-based soups and heartier soup meals like stews and chilis. One of my favorite types of soup to make is a roasted butternut squash soup. It’s a rich, smooth soup that’s fantastically satisfying. Besides soup’s versatility, I also appreciate that it often requires minimal ingredients. This makes it an easy and inexpensive option for creating a flavorful meal that can feed a crowd. Soup also gets bonus points from me because it’s the perfect platform for highlighting some of Mother Nature’s most nutritious foods.
Whenever I make this roasted butternut squash soup for someone new, they always want to know how I, as a registered dietitian nutritionist, can feel good about making and serving a cream-based soup. Imagine their surprise when I tell them there’s no cream in it at all, not even one drop! That’s the great thing about this soup. It’s creamy and smooth because of the technique. First, roasting the squash with the other vegetables adds just the right amount of sweetness from caramelization. Then combining it all with vegetable broth and pureeing it until it’s smooth adds that creamy texture without the cream. It’s a magnificent phenomenon!
Besides being rich, smooth and flavorful, this recipe is also nutritious. Butternut squash is an excellent source of vitamin A and fiber. Onions contain allyl sulfides which may fight cancer and heart disease. Using low-sodium broth cuts back on the salt content, too.
Food Safety Tip: Be sure to cool this soup down before storing it. This will help prevent raising the temperature of your refrigerator, which can produce an environment that is hospitable to dangerous bacteria. To cool soup faster, place it in an ice bath or a large, shallow container and sit on a cooling rack. Keep in mind that it shouldn’t sit out for any more than two hours. Once cool, cover and keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days or freezer for 2-3 months. Be sure to reheat the soup to 165°F before serving any leftovers.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Sage
- 2 pounds whole butternut squash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large carrot, washed, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 small ribs of celery, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 large apple, washed, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 4 large leaves of fresh sage, washed and torn
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Using a vegetable brush, scrub the squash thoroughly under running water. Pat dry with clean paper towels. Carefully cut the stem end of the squash off then cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove seeds. Prick uncut sides all over with a fork.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1 teaspoon olive oil over each cut side of the squash then place it cut-side down onto the foil-lined pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and apple with the remaining olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Tear a sheet of foil large enough to hold the vegetable/apple mixture (about 18 inches long). Place mixture in the center of the piece of foil and loosely fold up the sides, but don't fully close them, to make a pouch.
- Place squash and vegetable/apple mixture next to each other on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Roast about 30 minutes, stir vegetable mixture then cook an additional 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp and place in a large pot.
- To the same pot, add the vegetable/apple mixture, the vegetable broth and sage. Puree the mixture with a stick blender until smooth. Alternatively, if you do not have a stick blender, place half of the squash and half of the vegetable/apple mixture in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a large pot and repeat with the remaining squash and vegetables. (NOTE: Pureeing hot liquids in a blender can be dangerous, allow vegetables to cool slightly and use caution.) Add the bay leaf and set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, cook for an additional 20 minutes.
- Stir in lemon juice just before serving. Remove bay leaf. Portion into bowls and serve warm.